Vale Bruce Fleming, an original marine rescue hero - The Community Leader and Real Estate New and Views

Bruce Fleming – a loved founder and colleague at Coast Guard Brisbane. Photo: Harvey Shore, Brisbane Coast Guard.


Bruce Fleming, the founding father of Brisbane Coast Guard, has passed away in Robina Hospital after a long illness. His wife Judy Fleming and his son Steve were by his bed at the end.

On 8th November, 1972, Bruce Fleming and six fishermen mates were enjoying a break at the Moreton Bay Trailer Boat Club when a ship’s radio alerted them to a serious boating accident near Amity on North Stradbroke Island. There was no volunteer marine rescue organisation in Moreton Bay at the time, so Bruce and his six mates jumped into their boats and raced across to Amity to help. They managed to save two people, although a third person drowned.

Following this tragedy, Bruce Fleming and his six mates vowed to establish a local rescue service in Moreton Bay, using their own vessels and their own time. Others soon joined ‘The Magnificent Seven’, and in the following year they applied to join the Australian Volunteer Coast Guard Association. In 1973 Bruce Fleming and his team were recognised as ‘QF2’ – the second Coast Guard unit in Queensland, now more commonly known as Brisbane Coast Guard.

At first, QF2 operated from a caravan on the Wynnum waterfront. By 1979 their rescue activities had outgrown this tiny space and needed larger premises. The Port of Brisbane Authority offered to lease them land on Norfolk Point, near the mouth of Manly Boat Harbour. Bruce Fleming and his team built the current Coast Guard base there with their own hands, using their own equipment, and with great community support. The current base was officially opened in 1979.

Since then, Brisbane Coast Guard has assisted many thousands of boaties in distress, worked with the Water Police on many hundreds of Search and Rescue operations, and saved countless lives at sea. It has expanded its reach, establishing a secondary base in Redland Bay (now an independent Flotilla called QF7 Redland Bay Coast Guard) and increasing the size of its fleet of vessels to nine so it can operate in all types of in-shore and off-shore waters.

Bruce Fleming continued to serve as a Coast Guard volunteer through all this expansion. He continued as a crewman and radio watchkeeper on his regular duty roster at Manly, to regularly attend monthly Flotilla General Meetings, and to be involved in Flotilla activities and fundraising events until his recent illness.

Bruce Fleming was loved by his colleagues at QF2, and had many friends throughout Coast Guard and in the local boating community. Bruce Fleming was honoured by Coast Guard with a Distinguished Service Award in 2014, and by the Federal Government with The National Medal and Bar.

Bruce Fleming embodied the finest traditions of Coast Guard Service. As the founding father of QF2, he’ll be sadly missed by his shipmates. We all wish his noble soul “Fair Winds and Following Seas”.

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